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Sarah Haston: 3 ways to grow your audience and get more clients

Sarah Haston • Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Allow me to keep it simple – growth is good. As the economic developer for the city of Lebanon, I am surrounded by growth and seeking further growth…it’s my job and what I have been tasked to do.

Growth is essential for businesses to stay alive. There’s no need for greed to enter the picture, but growth – growth is what it should be all about. Just like in life – we are all looking to grow and we all try to help others grow. The same can be same about growing your audience.  

The more people you can reach, the more potential clients your work gets in front of. Here are a few simple ways that you can grow your audience without breaking the bank and increase your client list.

• Partnerships are a wonderful way to quickly grow your audience. And I do mean partnerships- not sponsorships, not paid campaigns. I cannot stress enough how beneficial partnerships are not only for the betterment of our community, but for the growth of our small businesses, too. 

Find people that are in niches adjacent to yours whose work you admire. Seek out businesses that get you excited about their product. Look around your current community and ask yourself who you are a personal fan of and why. Those are the people with whom you should partner.

There’s nothing wrong with a partnership that makes you money, but the word partnership means at its core that it should benefit both parties. Working with people who you admire gives you a chance to show your value to new people, as well as offer value to the other party, while being authentic. It’s also a genuine way to grow your audience. Disingenuous growth is easy to spot a mile away.

• Look for speaking opportunities. What better way to share your message with people than to actually share your message? Scout out speaking opportunities with local civic organizations and nonprofits to get yourself in front of new people. Great places to start are your chamber of commerce, schools, small business communities, applying to speak at conferences and Facebook groups in your niche.

You can also put on your social media or website that you are available for speaking gigs. See if anyone contacts you. There’s a lot of power in opening yourself up to speaking engagements, and it’s an easy way to get your work in front of a new audience. Plus, this allows other people to tell you they are interested in hearing more about what you do.

• Think local. It’s wonderful to have big picture goals for yourself and dreams of taking over the world. We’ve all got to start somewhere though, and it’s easier to become a big fish in a small pond first. Take every opportunity that comes your way to make an impact in your local community. #ThinkLebanonFirst

Become the go-to person in your city for your niche. Reach out to people and companies of all sizes in your city and ask for coffee to introduce yourself. Attend events that focus on the local community- things like volunteering at community events and nonprofits, council meetings, and traditional networking and business events are all good. We all have a desire to help and to give back – why not do that locally? 

Getting seen and interacting at these events will show that you are a person of character and authentic, plus allow people to get to know you and people like to know people.

Sarah Haston is economic development director in Lebanon.


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